Ideas Panelists Richard Colton is ready to soar at the Festival

Richard Colton
Really Real post-discussion moderator*

I'm thrilled about my first visit to this great Festival. I love that the visceral excitement that the Festival's performances seem to inevitably generate is complimented daily by reflection and scholarship in all kinds of panels and discussions before and after these performances. If I could duplicate a Festival this would be it! Arts & Ideas has great performances night after night and highlights the fact that these performances can be disseminated as thought. No small feat and one I find ideal and of critical importance.

I can't think of a young choreographer more adept at making the connection between art and thought, with no loss of visceral energy and spontaneity, than Wally Cardona. I'll have the great opportunity to moderate a dialogue between him and Phil Kline, a composer, who has, in a contemporary way, the collaborative spirit of a Stravinsky (who would bring, famously, his unique musical ideas to dancemakers). Really Real is Kline's third work with Cardona, and Kline has done all kinds of projects with filmmakers and in theatrical contexts. Kline's embrace of the theatrical makes me think of John Cage's belief (said unforgettably and impishly) that "the ear is better with the eye." I am delighted to have the opportunity, along with the Arts & Ideas audience, to ask these two artists, fresh after their premiere and an extended creative collaboration, about their philosophy of work in both dance and music and what spurs on their great creativity.

Wally's work I think is unique in many ways. He is an artist that does not simply hold a mirror up to life but actually gets the viewer to consider his/her own act of seeing the mirror. His movement phrases are some of the richest, most spectacularly fluid phrases in dance and, fascinatingly, he has a way of so sharply framing them that they can, paradoxically, appear like a film that you're watching frame by frame. Susan Sontag spoke about art that creates "the most beautiful effects by placing a hot subject in a cold frame." Wally does this, and more, brilliantly! Wally does remind me of a great filmmaker and film's ability to edit and shape its footage with such incredible laser-like precision. I look forward to asking Wally about his film-like approach to choreography.

My visit starts on Saturday night; I'll see Beckett's First Love (great excerpts on A & I website wet my appetite). Then on Sunday I'll see Really Real. These are works not simply about the resources of theater lucidly and brilliantly used but are, in fact, works of art that can serve as ideas about living. The stuff of Arts & Ideas! Arts & Ideas is more important than ever and I know, for one, I will return home with senses sharpened and revitalized! I do look forward with great anticipation!

*Richard is credited with dancing and choreographing with Twyla Tharp Dance, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, SPENCER/COLTON, among many others. Richard is currently the Director of Summer Stages Dance at Concord Academy.